Following the renewed escalated crisis between Israel and Hamas, Egypt has closed Rafah border crossing to Gaza.
It is important to clarify that Rafah is the sole crossing between Egypt and Gaza, where an Israeli-led blockade has placed severe restrictions on the movement of goods and people for years.
Egyptian security sources told newsmen that the nation closed the Rafah crossing on its border with the Gaza Strip until further notice.
In a swift reaction, Hamas, the Palestinian faction that controls Gaza, said it had been informed by Egypt of the decision to shut the crossing in both directions, without giving details.
The Egyptian security sources averred that the closure was made for security reasons following the recent escalation between Israel and Hamas, with Israeli aircraft striking sites in Gaza after gunfire from Gaza across the border with Israel.
Local reports have it that the latest escalation saw an Israeli Border policeman, 21-year-old St.-Sgt. Barel Shmueli, seriously wounded after being shot at the border.
It was gathered that Shmueli was shot by a Palestinian who had been able to approach the perimeter fence and fire a handgun into Shmueli’s firing position.
In a video shared on social media, dozens of Palestinians gathered along the fence near Shmueli’s position. One was seen trying to snatch his weapon; although the Palestinian managed to grab the barrel, Shmueli managed to pull it back.
IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said “The soldier fought back and prevented the gun in his hands from being taken away”.
Similarly, in another video obtained by newsmen, Palestinians are then seen throwing objects and hitting the barrel of the weapon, and then one rioter is seen approaching Shmueli’s position and firing a handgun into it.
As of the time of filing this report, the IDF has opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Egypt had opened the crossing between Egypt and Gaza indefinitely in February in what was described as an effort to encourage negotiations between Palestinian factions meeting at the time in Cairo.
Reports said it kept the crossing open during and after an 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas in May, delivering aid and construction materials through Rafah after helping to broker a truce between the two sides.